Upper airway symptoms or dysphagia may be caused by vascular anomalies, forming a ring around the trachea, oesophagus or both. To analyse the clinical presentation, use of various diagnostic techniques, treatment and follow-up we carried out a retrospective study of 38 children who had been diagnosed with a vascular ting between 1981 and 1996. We found 74% of the vascular tings to be symptomatic, with inspiratory stridor and wheezing as the main complaints. The delay between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis of a vascular ting in patients without associated anomalies ranged from 1 to 84 mo. Associated anomalies were found in 53% of cases and 80% of these anomalies consisted of associated cardiovascular malformations. Oesophagography proved to be a valuable diagnostic technique when a vascular ting was suspected. Echocardiography appeared to be of little value for the diagnosis of a vascular ring, but was essential to exclude associated cardiovascular malformations. Although angiography has always been considered to be the gold standard in the determination of the exact anatomy of vascular tings, increasing evidence is available that CT scan or MRI may replace this role. Mortality was related to co-existent tracheal deformities in 5/6 cases. Of the remaining, preoperatively symptomatic patients, relief of symptoms was achieved immediately after surgery in 43% and within 4y after surgery in 57%. Prolonged and recurrent respiratory complaints or dysphagia in infancy or childhood should alert the paediatrician to the possibility of a vascular ring.

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doi.org/10.1080/08035259950168423, hdl.handle.net/1765/64972
Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health
Department of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery

Bakker, D. A. H., Berger, R., Witsenburg, M., & Bogers, A. (1999). Vascular rings: A rare cause of common respiratory symptoms. Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health, 88(9), 947–952. doi:10.1080/08035259950168423